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Philippine jets attack rebel strongholds

Philippine government warplanes pounded a communist rebel camp with 75-pound bombs and ground troops attacked two other rebel strongholds in a major offensive north of Manila yesterday. A military spokesman said the coordinated operation marked the start of ``a total war'' against the New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas operating in the northern Philippines.

There were no casualty reports issued for Monday's bombing of the guerrilla headquarters in Kalinga-Apayao Province or Sunday's bombing in the area or in the operations against rebel forces in two other provinces.

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Gen. Fidel Ramos, the armed forces chief, clarified an earlier report from the state-run Philippine News Agency that quoted local military officers as saying ``heavy fighting'' had erupted in Kalinga-Apayao. He said troops there were still scouring the jungles leading to the bombed area. He told reporters the Monday bombs hit a sizable camp where rebels directed their operations in the north.

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